In the United States, the gap between those at the top of the economic ladder and those at the bottom is wide and growing. Since the Great Recession, public discourse has focused primarily on the earnings of top executives—the top 1 percent—in comparison with low-wage workers. But broader measures of income inequality also show a growing gap between the haves and the have-nots. The Gini Index, which measures inequality across households, recently registered its first significant year-to-year increase since 1993 and has risen by 20 percent since 1967.
The U.S. poverty rate has also increased in recent years, but at 14.5 percent the poverty rate is well below levels recorded 50 years ago when President Lyndon Johnson declared a War on Poverty. Poverty rates have fluctuated over time, increasing during recessions and decreasing during periods of economic growth. However, for many regions poverty and inequality have increased in tandem in recent years.Check out the maps!